John Glen MP asks government to bring forward legislation so that there is a minimum threshold vote before Unions can take disruptive action

Hansard 13th Sept 2012:

“John Glen (Salisbury) (Con): Dr Stuart Smallwood, the respected headmaster of Bishop Wordsworth’s school in Salisbury, wrote to me this week to express great concern that strike action has been approved by just over one in five members of the National Union of Teachers. Will my right hon. Friend urge the Education Secretary to bring forward legislation so that there is a minimum threshold before such disruptive action can take place?

Mr Lansley: My hon. Friend and the head teacher of the school in his constituency make an important point. From my conversations with leaders of trade unions over a number of years, I think that when they clearly do not have a compelling mandate for action, they should take that into consideration. I simply urge the teaching unions not to proceed with industrial action. It is not in the best interests of the children, and it is not justified by any grievance that they have brought forward.”

While sharing the concerns about the NUT’s tactics and being fully aware of the deficiencies in our education system, I am not impressed with John Glen or Dr Smallwood’s priorities.  I agree that a 1 in 5 vote is not a strong mandate but lets consider the following:

  • The conservative party only gained the support of 1 in 4 of the electorate in the 2010 general election.
  • The coalition was formed on the basis of a national financial crisis but the ineffective Lib Dem role in the coalition means that the Conservative party is taking the opportunity to push through a radical right wing programme even though it did not win the election and does not have a mandate for its policies.
  • Micheal Gove has no relevant experience or qualifications for his role of Education Secretary (unless being sponsored by  Rupert Murdoch is a qualifying factor)
  • Michael Gove is pushing through radical changes to our education system for which there is no mandate and there has been no  rational evidence based justification or debate.
  • Andrew Lansley has been responsible for a top down reorganisation of the Health Service which is already resulting in the privatisation of the provision of the service and which has given up responsibility, oversight and long term planning to management consultants and private international health care companies. All this in absolute contravention to promises made in the election. So again no mandate!

In view of these points I humbly suggest that John Glen and Dr Smallwood should apply their logic to the government, i.e.:

When the government clearly do not have a compelling mandate for action, they should take that into consideration.  The government should not proceed with policies which are not well thought out and for which the  evidential support is anecdotal or non existent.  If the government continues to pursue policies with only a 1 in 4 mandate you should insist that they bring forward legislation so that there is a minimum threshold before such ill thought out polices can be introduced.

If the above is implemented and the NUT still insists on taking industrial action then that will be the time to put a minimum threshold on the unions ability to take disruptive action.

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UPDate 15th Nov 2012: Police Crime Commissioner elections. In the Wiltshire PCC election  less than 7% of those who were eligible to vote, voted for the winner, Conservative Angus Macpherson.   So why aren’t the Tories and John Glen pushing for a new law that there is a threshold vote below which PCC elections are null and void. I won’t hold my breath waiting.

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, Christian, married, bloke from the Home Counties says Tory MP, John Glen.

On the night before a likely cabinet reshuffle it might be worth remembering this very strange and rather unpleasant article from the Daily Mail of Nov 2010: Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP

Cameron won't make me a Minister... I'm a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP John Glen

The article claims that John Glen “has made a scathing attack on David Cameron for pro­moting women and people from the ethnic minorities over ‘white, Christian, married’ men” and that he  said “his background effectively ruled him out for a ministerial job under Mr Cameron.”

He said: ‘I don’t anticipate any early calls to Government. I’m a white, Christian, married bloke from the Home Counties so I probably don’t fit the description of what the leadership wants at the moment.’

The Daily Mail in its usual unpleasant  style made the most of this – any excuse to imply that ethnic minorities and women might be getting the upper hand irrespective of the evidence.  But then evidence and facts are generally ignored by the Daily Mail.

The facts of course are that out of 100 government ministers less than 20 are women and only a couple are from ethnic minorities.

In fact of course most ministers are white, male, home counties etc etc.  A disturbingly large number went to Eton & Oxbridge, were born wealthy, have never had a proper job and seem singularly unqualified for their roles, why didn’t John Glen mention that?

I don’t normally recommend a Daily Mail article but I assume that the quotes are correct and it is worth reading just for these.

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP

UPDATE (Tuesday 4th Sept 2012):  as far as I am aware John Glen has not made it into the cabinet or become a junior minister in the reshuffle. However, Cameron’s new cabinet consists of 85% men, 100% white,70% Oxbridge, 100% wealthy and not one lives in the real world.  So Mr Glen, where are all those women and ethnic minorities???

WHY is this important? The headline is designed to reinforce the Daily Mail’s continuing agenda of racism and misogyny. It implies that a male, white, home counties, Christian is somehow at a disadvantage compared to ethnic minorities or women. The article does not offer one shred of evidence to support this. In fact the allegation is clearly ridiculous, particularly given the make up of our current government.  But the majority of Mail readers will not read the article in full, they will just see the headline and confirmation bias will allow them to reinforce their prejudices.  This particular example is too comical to be taken particularly seriously but the insidious effect of unsubstantiated and usually totally false headlines day in day out should not be underestimated.

UPDATE: Just heard (Wed 12th Sept 2012) that John Glen has been made PPS to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  Congratulations to John.

This should be interesting to watch as John Glen grapples with the conflict between the interests of his constituents and the doctrinaire policies of Eric Pickles.

UPDATE: (3rd Oct 2012) Seems John failed to have any influence on Eric (Localism) Pickles concerning the Hampton Park II estate which has got the go ahead over the wishes of residents and councillors.
Pickles  1  Localism 0
Hampton Park II to go ahead after review plea fails (Salisbury Journal, 3rd Oct 2012)

UPDATE: 22nd Dec 2012 Here is the latest photo of the Cabinet, taken to commemorate the visit of the Queen.    Yes, David Cameron has certainly been “promoting women and people from the ethnic minorities over ‘white, Christian, married’ men” here’s the evidence:

Photo of Cabinet

UPDATE (PMQs 5th Feb 2014):  David Cameron’s all white, all male, front bench:allmalefrontbench2

The tory party freeing upwomento do other things

UPDATE 28th Sept 2014: Have just noticed that John Glen has been promoted to the Number 10 Policy Board (Home Affairs and Constitution) to work on the constitution and devolution.   So perhaps being a white, home counties, Oxford educated, Christian wasn’t such a dreadful disadvantage after all. Well done John!

UPDATE Feb 2017. Just thought I would add a photo of the current cabinet. I guess Mr Glen can feel disgruntled about the small increase in the number of women in the cabinet at his expense but other wise it looks like the same old mix of white, home counties, privately, educated men:

current cabinet

UPDATE: June 2017 John Glen MP has finally made it – he has been made a Junior Minister (Minister for the Arts, Heritage & Tourism) at the Department of Culture Media and Sport – well done John.

UPDATE: Sept 2018  Having been promoted in Jan 2018 to  Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, John Glen has now blotted his copybook somewhat by accidentally revealing a Treasury no-deal Brexit document ‘Operation Yellowhammer’.

john glen yellowhammer

John Glen MP on Barclays Libor Scandal

John Glen MP on Barclays Libor ScandalI cannot let this disappointing Tweet from our local MP John Glen go without comment. He made it on the day of the House of Commons debate about the Barclays / Libor debacle during which there was a pretty unedifying display of the kind of partisan, point scoring, shouting and insults that the public finds so disconcerting about our politicians. It was also the day after the Select Committee comprehensively demonstrated, with their pathetically inadequate questioning of Bob Diamond, that a parliamentary inquiry into the LIBOR scandal would be totally ineffective .

The facts and evidence are clear, deregulation and liberalisation of the City of London and the glorification of the greed is good culture, started with Margaret Thatcher and her neolibertarian colleagues supported by the powerful lobbying strength of the banks.  They were followed by Blair and Brown and New Labour who just as enthusiastically followed the neolibertarian route of light touch regulation (lax regulation) and yielding to the lobbying power of the City Institutions. Meanwhile Osborne and the Tories were cheer-leading for the process, criticising New Labour for not going far enough in ridding the city of  regulation.  Clearly both major parties are up to their necks in blame for where we are to day – the evidence for this is incontrovertible.

In response to John Glen’s Tweet I would suggest that what the public wants is for our politicians to forget their petty party political squabbles and put the interest of the country first.  The level of corruption, greed and clinical delusion in the city threatens the livelihood and well being of everyone of us, not least the poor people who work for the high street banks and other retail sectors of the financial industry and who are blameless*, but like the rest of us are suffering the consequences.    (* except those who helped with the miss selling of PPIs and other dodgy financial products)

Yes the public want action – we want the Vicker’s commission recommendations to be implemented in full (not the watered down Osborn version), with a complete separation between High Street Banks and casino banking (rejected by Osborn) and we don’t want to wait until 2019 (another Osborne sop to the City).

We then want an independent enquiry into the whole financial mess in the vain hope that we can turn our brains on and avoid  this all happening again.

NB: The narrow point that John Glen was making about Ed Balls, based presumably on the Osborn allegation that Balls interfered in the Libor rate at the height of the financial panic (since retracted by Osborn’s office) seems to be a pretty weak criticism.  Ed Ball’s interference would have been in an attempt to save the financial industry in general and Barclays in particular from total collapse.  It is crystal clear that Ball’s and Osborn’s behaviour towards the City would have been the same – any suggestion that Osborn would have regulated the City anymore effectively is risible.

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Here is yet another example of the revolving door between regulator and regulated

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